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A Submission on the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Amendment Bill 2023 (Qld): Health and Environment Committee, the Queensland Parliament

Authors
  • Rimmer, Matthew
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2023
Source
Queensland University of Technology ePrints Archive
Keywords
License
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Abstract

This submission builds upon an earlier submission made during the consultations on tobacco control conducted by the Department of Health of the Queensland Government in 2022. This submission to the Queensland Parliament focuses in particular on the package of legislative proposals contained in the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Amendment Bill 2023 (Qld). The discussion of the regulation of vaping and e-cigarettes will be left to a separate spin-off inquiry being conducted by the Queensland Parliament.<br/><br/>The Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Amendment Bill 2023 (Qld) is an important step towards achieving a tobacco endgame in Queensland. Both the Premier and the Health Minister have shown a strong personal commitment to protecting the public health of Queenslanders from the threat and the scourge of the global tobacco epidemic. The legislative proposal has some strong points in terms of its combination of measures in respect of smoke-free environments, retail licensing, and enforcement. The Queensland model is not, though, quite as ambitious as New Zealand’s Tobacco Endgame strategy. There is scope for a future set of more ambitious law reforms, down the track in Queensland.<br/><br/>This submission calls upon the Queensland Government to raise its ambition in respect of tobacco control measures in order to achieve further public health benefits. There has been a commendable commitment to tobacco control by Queensland’s present leaders. However, there is currently a mismatch between the extent of the problem of smoking in Queensland, and the incremental nature of the public policy proposals proposed by the Queensland Government. The objective of Queensland’s tobacco control regime should aim higher than just reducing the negative effects of smoking in Queensland. The system should aim for the elimination of smoking in Queensland – a smoke-free Queensland.<br/><br/>The Queensland legislation has some additional incremental measures to expand smoke-free spaces and environments. This submission contends that the Queensland government should seek to achieve total and comprehensive smoke-free spaces and environments. The Queensland government should seek to eliminate loopholes and anomalies, which allow for smoking enclaves in public spaces. <br/>This submission supports a licensing regime for retailers in Queensland. However, this submission also maintains that there is a need to reduce the density and concentration of smoking retailers – particularly in deprived neighbourhoods in Queensland. <br/><br/>This submission notes the strong focus of the bill and its legislative sponsors on the protection of children and youth from the tobacco industry. This submission also recommends the introduction of further age restrictions on smoking in Queensland to achieve smoke free generations. It contends that Queensland should follow the lead of the United States, Singapore, and New Zealand, and raise the legal age for smoking.<br/>Furthermore, the submission recognises the huge of burden of smoking-related death, disease, and disability in Queensland. It recommends that the Queensland Government should consider the prospects of civil litigation and criminal litigation against the tobacco industry to hold them responsible and accountable for such costs.<br/><br/>This submission also highlights the need to put in place further measures to guard against tobacco interference in the Queensland political system. It is recommended that tobacco companies and related entities should be banned from making political donations in the Queensland political system.<br/><br/>[Final report: <br/>Health and Environment Committee, Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Amendment Bill 2023, Report No. 32, Health and Environment Committee, Queensland Parliament, May 2023, https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/Work-of-Committees/Committees/Committee-Details?cid=169&id=4243 ]<br/>

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